Plywood Arrowhead Plaque with Mounted Projectile Points
As colonial farmers began cultivating the land, they would often discover Indigenous artifacts turned up by the plough. The vast majority of these were projectile points lost by Indigenous hunters over 13,000 years of tracking game across the landscape. Frequently, though, farmers would also plough up a former campsite or larger settlement, yielding vast quantities of artifacts. As a result, there are probably very few farms in southern Ontario today that do not have at least a shoebox tucked away somewhere with various “arrowheads” or “skinning stones” inside. Most farmers had no idea that many of the artifacts they were collecting were older than the pyramids of Egypt or Mesoamerica. Nor were they aware that most of the “arrowheads” were actually spear or dart tips or that the “skinning stones” were actually ground stone celts for woodworking. Instead, they were content with the vague notion that Indigenous people had been on the land before them and with celebrating the aesthetics of their finds by displaying them for visitors. This plywood plaque, cut out in the shape of a corner-notched projectile point, is a classic example of this very common practice. The points attached to it range in age from about 3,000 to 8,000 years old. Today, since farmers rarely spend much time walking their ploughed fields, such discoveries are now usually made by archaeologists carrying out investigations under provincial license. But these farm collections can still yield valuable information, especially if their original location is recorded.
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